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Sofia Paderes Sep 2018
She dreamt about you last week.

I nibbled on my breakfast today -- bread and a thinly sliced orange. It seemed enough at the moment, but I snapped somewhere. I let her tell me off for being unreasonable while her hands did dishes the way you taught her to. She never wastes water.

She said you were both running.

This morning she had tiny baby dolls dangling from her ears. Being seen doesn't bother her anymore as much as it used to, but that doesn't matter to you because you always saw her. And I'd like to think you still do. She was beautiful today. And always.

She laughed softly. "Imagine her running," she said. But somehow, I could.

Last week, she got a bright red alarm clock with a built-in radio. Old songs as much as possible, please -- the soundtrack of our late nights. The first night she figured out how to work it, I lay on the bed the same way you used to, one leg crossed and one arm over my eyes, laughing. Did you laugh? I can copy your laugh too, you know.

She said you both knew why you were running.

It's a jungle in there, and I'm not always allowed to explore. But sometimes, she lets me cross a river. Lets me through some vines. And I tell her, "Baby, I'll stand out here with my little torch and wait out the rains. I'll help you map this place out. I'm a little lost in here, but I'm not leaving until these footprints I'm following lead me right next to you." She just smiles. Did you know that your footprints are there, too? They're all over the place.

She said you made it into each other's arms.

I hadn't cried over you in a long, long time but that Sunday morning I drew her in close and we dampened each other's shoulders. Laughed a little. Cried some more. Got dressed. Carried on.

I miss having you in my dreams too, but it was nice of you to say hello. Know that you are always welcome. Maybe next time you'll stay a bit longer. We'll have your coffee ready.

Thank you. Please, come again.
Her gravestone says "You will always be loved". Miss you, Lola Chichi. Just when I thought I had nothing to write about you anymore, this poem came.
Sofia Paderes Aug 2018
Watch this woman.

See how she comes in with the sun on her face, every wrinkle is a mark made by golden drops, each line a story of a time she laughed, stories she probably can't remember but will try to tell anyway.

See those hips and how they sway. Those hips are strong enough to carry centuries of culture, and she's closer to a hundred than she is to fifty, but if you ask about her dancing days you'll see those hips still know exactly where they're supposed to be. Believe me, I've asked. That afternoon, we spent a good hour twirling our wrists to invisible Spanish-sounding guitars, feet darting across imaginary bamboo poles, gracefully closing the gaps between generations. I wonder if this is what she'd like to do in eternity.

Watch this woman.

See her hands, how they are always so full yet also always so empty. What she's holding never stays with her for long. This is how she loves. Her hands know nothing else but to love. Her hands love me when they pack my favorite food into plastic Tupperware for me to take home, her hands love me when they do their magic mending on the rips and tears in my clothes, her hands love me when they insist on doing dishes so I don't have to, her hands love me when they show me which ingredients to pour into a bowl so I can have her bread pudding anytime. This woman's hands could feed armies and she does it like everyday's tomorrow is a final battle.

See her eyes, how God must have placed diamonds instead when He made them. See how they twinkle whenever someone she loves enters the room, how they glitter whenever someone she loves speaks. See how clear are the tears that so easily flow from them, how all it takes is a single tug at her heart for it to become a spring. See how pride gleams from them whenever she travels miles north to watch this woman.

And Lola, this woman wants you to know that she watches you. And she sees you and her love for you often leaves her without words, except right now. And this woman wishes she's got numberless days left to watch you, but for now she says let's keep watching each other, until the day comes we are both dancing before the face of eternity.
Happy 80th birthday, Lola Sony. Your bones are strong but your heart is stronger.
Sofia Paderes Jan 2018
It’s not just on sunny days that I thank the saltwaters for washing you ashore. But it was sunny that day I was walking barefoot on the beach, thinking it all looks the same.

Sun. Sand. Sky. Sea.

But then,
I saw you.

It could have been anyone else. Do you realize how much you look like the rest from afar? But in my eyes, the light seemed to only bounce off you. I could have walked on, but for some reason I stopped. And I’m glad I did stop. Long enough to pick you up, long enough to feel every rise and every fall, long enough to run my fingers over all the places sand somehow found its way into, all the edges, sharp and rough, that sometimes hurt the hands that hold you, and you sometimes hurt me but

Don’t wish to be washed away just because you have.

I know you wonder why on earth you’re still ashore. I know you love the sun, but sometimes its rays cast too much shadows that whisper darkened daydreams of blue embraces, and you’ve tried resting in its arms once or twice. I know you get tired of the ocean and how the waters break against your back day after day, but know that each time they do, a piece of your past chips off. A bit of weakness is made strong. The ocean is shaping you and it isn’t done with you just yet.

Don’t forget this.

I hope that you don’t see yourself as leftovers. Who hasn’t had someone leave them before? You are more than something that was left behind. You are not its ghost. There is beauty in the way you’ve kept your shell, in the way you still hold against the currents, in the way you refuse to let wind and weather steal your colors. But maybe you don’t know it. Or maybe you’ve been waiting for another pair of eyes and hands to see it for you.

But I see it. I do. I’m not the perfect pair of eyes and hands, but I hope you’ll let me help you make it through.

There are still so many sunny days we’ve yet to walk in.
Sofia Paderes Dec 2017
(o, holy night)
sweet carols ring throughout the dark
echoing joyously — warm words
wrap their arms around us
with our hearts aglow
we know that we sing
of mercy and goodness
and fulfilled promises

(the stars are brightly shining)
we dance in peppermint winds
against skies ablaze with colored lights
spinning on the water’s surface
but none shine more brightly
than this dawn breaking in me
for come has the One for whom
this weary world’s been waiting

(it is the night)
the air is thick with symphonies of spices
cars glide past us, eager to make it home
children laugh, there are strangers no more
baby born, God of angels and galaxies
distant no more

(of our dear Savior’s birth)
how beautiful this truth -- that
thrill of hope became tangible in a manger
love itself swaddled in cloth
the cry of this child
broke centuries of silence
His eyes bright with a promise
of all things new and glorious

o, how divine
how divine is this night
Sofia Paderes Oct 2017
she slips in silently
seeking sanctuary, and
every step is a prayer.

step.
father, forgive me for I have sinned.
step.
father, forgive me for I have...
step.
deaf god, dead god.

too many horizons hold his heart
he is hardened and headstrong, yet
every step is a prayer.

right.
father? forgive me for?
left.
father, forgive me for...
right.
deaf god, dead god.

we won't wake to weeping
walking with our veils pulled tight
over eyes, and we know it. maybe
every step is a prayer.

clack.
father, forgive me.
thump.
father, forgive --
creak.
father?
stop.
do you hear me?
one.
deaf god
stomp.
dead god
three.
father?
do you hear me?
Assignment for my creative writing class. We had to write a poem using different sound devices and base it off an artwork. This is my poem for Noberto Roldan's installation, "Archangel".
Sofia Paderes Oct 2017
hold me when the river runs
don't let go.
watch it wind,
see me sink.

hold me when the river runs
to wherever it can't wait to be
rushing, roaring, rigid flowing
sudden stops -- please,
give me warnings

hold me when it all floats up,
when the bones pierce through,
when the gold is birthed,
when my palms fail to release,
when they fail to keep.

hold me when the river runs
don't.
let go.
I'll learn to follow echoes.
Assignment for a creative writing class. Picture poetry. The picture I got was of my friend and seatmate Kristine as a baby being carried by her dad at the entrance of the Underground River in Puerto Prinsesa.
Sofia Paderes Aug 2017
Brother,
For the days we have known each other,
I have come to the conclusion that there
Is something wrong with your eyes, because
Where you see brokenness, I see strength
Holding all your pieces together.
Where you see scars, I see tattoos of triumph,
Stories of how you fought,
Stories of how you lived each battle through.
Where you see ****, I see beauty in places
You refuse to turn your head to, why
Won’t you turn your head to see
How I see you?
See, you have seen far too many hellos
And even more goodbyes to believe
That I am here to stay.
And I
Am here to stay.

Brother, my hands are here to catch
Whatever falls out of your storms.
I myself have been a storm far too many times
To run away when your rains start to pour.
My feet are ready to come chasing after you
When you stray too far away from home,
And as long as there is breath in my lungs
I swear I will never let you stay lost.
Because I
Am here to stay.

Till the day the world runs out of will to spin one more round,
Till the day the waves stop running back to shore,
Till the day mother and father and sister and brother forget each other’s faces,
Till the day of judgment,
Till the day of blood and trial,
Till the day of denial,
I will stay.
I will stay.
I will stay.
A poem written for my cousin Jaime Morados' short film, Till the Day of Denial.
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